Table of contents
1.0 Introduction 3
2.0 The Similarities and Dissimilarities 4
3.0 Alter Ego 5
4.0 Conclusions 6
5.0 References 7
“Fitting in creates an ever increasing portfolio of alter-egos, each new ego progressively easier to slip into, until it becomes a process so automated that he does not even realize it is taking place” (Gilbert, 2010).
According to Ladock (n.d.) once an ego develops in a person by any means that will repeatedly remind of and such person carries with that ego for his lifetime. Through imagination they dream of goals and apply efforts to achieve seeking the help of alter ego. In most of the cases alter ego and the interest of the person remains the same and try to develop themselves in their own way.
Similarity of alter ego with the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe would be a colossal task. When contrasted with the `self-narrative` writings, assuming the depicted character as that of the author it can be assumed that Poe lived with an alter ego. However this essay doesn`t intend to explore into the life of Poe but on the other hand will investigate into the gothic tales where the evidence of the characters waging internal conflicts by creation of imaginary alter egos can be seen. Two of such identified works include “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat”.
Thus this essay considering the theme of `Self vs. Alter Ego` furthers to context and contrast two of the works of Poe: “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat”. This theme is attempted by finding similarities and dissimilarities within the works. To inflict the image into the minds of the reader, Poe uses the style of repetition by adding the haunting and ghastly effect which is presented with an example stated as “I moved it slowly– very slowly, so that I may not disturb the old man`s sleep” (Edgar Allan Poe, 2010). This style can be seen not only all through his individual works but can also be found within the themes and plots of his overall works (Cullen, 2007).
The idea is to find to what extent the narrator depict alter ego within the `self-narratives` of both the books.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities
`Self and the Alter-ego` is attempted with focus on similarities and dissimilarities.
Some of the similarities in both the books include: 1) Killing: in the former book if the narrator killed an old man disliking his eyes in the lateral book he killed a cat 2) Brutality and Fear: from both the narrations a typical character of the narrator can be seen on one hand the fear factor can be seen from the way he feels of the eyes of the old man in the former book and the cat in the later book similarly burying the heart of the old man and gouging the eye of the cat is an indication of the typical kind of not just fear but also of cruelty of the narrator. 3) Confidence: in contrast to the theme of fear the next theme that can be observed is the confidence the confidence of the narrator that he has hid the corpses so well that he wouldn`t be caught. 4) Yet another most commonality between the two books is that in both the books the author used `narrative-point-of-view` using first person view and interestingly the narrator is the murderer with typical emotions (Cullen, 2007).
Some of the dissimilarities in both the books include: 1) Attachment: in the former book the narrator doesn`t have any attachment with the old man still he goes on to kill him. On the other hand in the later book the narrator kills the pet cat, that cat that he loved so much that to overcome its loss he brings in another similar cat. 2) Regret: in the former book the narrator doesn`t have any regrets for his act of murder whereas in the lateral book he regrets his act of killing. Punishment: if the narrator goes unpunished for killing an old man in the former book, he is convicted for killing his wife. 3) The third principle difference is `the end` of the story. In the former book the reader know the resultant end however in the later book one has to read till the last sections to find the end however the surprise aspect of how and why exists in both the books (Edgar Allan Poe, 2010).
Berthet et al. (2006) state it is an advantage to have an alter ego but is must not be overboard. This gives person a feeling of completeness. In case of the narrator as found in both benefits couldn`t be seen in any of the books. However, when considering the opinion of Ladlock (n.d.) who states: if the alter ego is more perfect than your real self, then it can result in low self-esteem. As discussed in the earlier section the result of each of book in terms of similarity or dissimilarity it can be argued that the narrator carried low-esteem thus this essay is of the opinion that the narrator did carry the alter-ego. When we talk about the self of the narrator it can be seen that he was not leading a normal life thus again this essay furthers to argue that the there is a contrast between the self (narrator) and his alter ego. This aspect is also justified in the studies of Berthet, et al., (2006) who states that `a person get dominated by an alter ego on the other hand holds the person to lead a normal life`. The prime reason for the difference of self and the alter ego as can be judged from the book is `FEAR` that is also discussed as the most powerful factor in the books of Poe.
The Tell Tale Heart and The Black Cat share a similar plot line. A nameless narrator, caught and condemned, tells his tale of woe. This is evolved from the narrators` feelings that seem to be asking someone to understand his feelings. Though throughout the story it is evident that the action of the narrator are insane the feeling that the he gives are to that of a sane man. When viewed from the derived theme `self vs. the alter ego` the resultant factor that is identified from the discussion of similarity and dissimilarity within the book is `fear of the narrator`. It was the inner fear of the narrator that not only prompted him to kill the old man and the cat it was again the fear that further motivated him to hide his criminal deeds. In person the narrators of both the books were different depicting their personal self. However when they encountered with a particular object (old man and the cat) the alter ego seems to have erupted. This is again evident from the anger of the narrator and the anger is the result of the alter ego developed from within.
Cullen, The Black Cat (I) – The Tell Tale Heart, Spoiler Warnin, 25 May 2012. http://welltuncares.wordpress.com.
Gilbert, Self-Compassion, Stress, and Coping, Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4/2 (2010): 107 – 118, 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00246.x
Berthet et al. Alter Ego: Méthode de Français, Manuels et méthodes de FLE /Textbooks for learning French (MET) Paris: Hachette, 2006. Print.
Ladock, Jason. “What Is a Symbiotic Relationship?” Web, 25 May 2012. http://www.healthguidance.org.
Edgar, Allan. Poe`s The Black Cat Walkthrough, The Saturday Evening Post publication, 25 May 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org.
Table of contents